Forrest Griffin Recap On MMAWeekly Radio

June 12, 2005

Bill Mahood and Forrest Griffin at UFC 53

Bill Mahood raises Forrest Griffin's arm at UFC 53

When Forrest Griffin defeated Stephan Bonnar on the season finale of The Ultimate Fighter original Spike TV reality show, he was propelled into MMA stardom. His laid back Georgia boy attitude and quick-witted humor has made him a fan favorite. Anyone who watched UFC 53 and the crowd response to Griffin’s entrance had to notice the excitement in the air from those in attendance. Fresh off his UFC pay-per-view debut win over Bill Mahood, Forrest Griffin spoke with MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio about his win, his popularity, and whom he’d like to fight in the future.

“It was a pretty great feeling. That’s the power of TV right there.” Forrest Griffin told MMAWeekly about the crowd reaction to him at UFC 53. “I heard it. It was a great feeling. You know you come out there, and you hear that. I mean it’s an awesome thing. You know?”

Many expected a stand up battle when Bill Mahood and Forrest Griffin were pitted against one another. What they got was anything but. Forrest was asked if his game plan going into the fight was to take it to the ground. He responded, “Actually no. Not at all. It just happened like that. You know? And before you can regroup, or think of what to do…you’re like hey man I think I can win this fight from here.”

His game plan heading into the octagon was, “Just to stay tight, to try and pace him out into the corner, throw crisp, straight punches. I didn’t figure he would try to take me down, and I wasn’t really going to try to take him down. I just wanted to throw crisp punches, and do my boxing to where I know it can be.”

Further commenting, Griffin said, “I went right out and did what I promised myself that I wasn’t going to do. Threw the big haymaker 1-2, and then I was kind of like OK. I got that out of the way now I’m actually going to box, and just try and land punches instead of throw knockouts. While I was making that mental transition, he kind of kicked me and I kind of fell on top of him, and then Jitsu started happening. You know? The fight went well. I didn’t have to get beat up. I got to go to the bar instead of the emergency room afterward which was kind of cool.”

Forrest was asked how his fight game has evolved since he came back to the sport after a brief retirement. He answered, “I wish I could tell you it evolved, but if you look at it, it’s the same fight that I always fight. You know, basic boxing. My wrestling has got a little better. My Jitsu is just now getting back to where it once was. I took a whole year off from not grappling at all, and it takes a while to get comfortable there. When I was actually out there doing the TV show, I was afraid of most of those guys on the ground. You know? I didn’t want to be there with those guys. I hadn’t been grappling with guys at that level…I grappled like ten times in a year before I did the show.”

He continued, “It’s hard to make improvements. I’m definitely smarter. The clinch is good. I’m trying to work on my boxing right now…I’m mostly just going to start trying to throw high kicks. People like high kicks. I don’t have a lot of flexibility, but I want to start kicking people in the head.”

There’s been criticism from some about the participants on The Ultimate Fighter show not being UFC caliber fighters. Some even feel they’re being given easy match ups to ensure wins. Griffin responded to those claims. “I’ve heard it. There’s also this thing about us being fed people because they want us to win…Of course the UFC wants us to do well. They want to capitalize on the popularity of the show, but the thing about this is, you put two guys in there. They have no control over what happens…They’re not changing the outcome of the fight in anyway. Once people step in there, it’s out of their hands. It’s completely up to the fighters.”

Forrest went on to say, “As far as me personally. I tell you, I thought I was good enough to be in the UFC at 205 back when Horn knocked me out, back in 2003. That’s one of the reasons why I quit. I beat main guys, and I’ve never been a walk-over for anybody in any fight ever. There’s nobody I didn’t fight that didn’t know they had been in a fight.”

As far a Griffin’s future is concerned and whom he’d like to fight, he commented, “There’s so many guys right now in the UFC. I hear Babalu tore his bicep, so he’s out…I don’t know. People I’d want to fight? I really like to fight, so I’d like to fight anybody that’s not going to wrestle me to the ground and just lay on me.” “You’ve got Horn. I’m really excited to see how he does against Chuck. I’d love to fight Horn again. I mean I love the guy. He’s great, but I’d love to not get kicked in the neck and get knocked out by him.”